William Andrew Dillard
PLEASE TELL ME
Easter Sunday, 2016 has come and gone, but it evoked questions in the minds of some who would like more information. This is an attempt to provide such for further thought.
Q. Exactly what day of the week was Jesus crucified, and how can one know for sure?
Q Exactly when was the vail of the Temple torn into two pieces, and just what is that supposed to mean?
Q. Exactly when did the earthquake occur in connection with the crucifixion of Jesus?
Q. Exactly when did the great number of saints arise from the graves to be seen in Jerusalem?
Q. Exactly why did Jesus forbid Mary to touch Him near the garden tomb, yet invited the disciples to freely feel his body?
To answer the first question, addressing the day of Jesus’ crucifixion must acknowledge the considerable controversy in the religious world about the specific day. The popular (Catholic) position is that it occurred on Friday. Others say Thursday, and still others believe it was Wednesday. This writer belongs to the Wednesday group. But think, and do the math. Jesus said in comparison to Jonah’s stay in the fish belly, that He would be in the grave three days and three nights. He could have just said three days or He could have just said three nights which would fuel confusion. But He said three days and three nights. He was buried near 6:00p.m., the beginning of a new day. Jewish time reckons a solar day from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00.p.m. Thus what we could call Wednesday night, Thursday night and Friday night would constitute three nights. Then, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday would constitute three days. He was already gone before daylight on Sunday morning, indicating His resurrection was sometime after 6:00 p.m. Saturday evening, the beginning of the first day of the week. Of course, this understanding is derived from the belief that Jesus literally meant what He said when specifically mentioning three days and three nights. So, it goes without controversy that He was risen very early on the first day of the week. Just start there and do the math in subtraction. Wherever the previous three days and three nights take you, that will be the discovery of the day of the crucifixion. It may seem a small matter in light of His glorious resurrection, but the Word is still the Word, and truth is still truth regardless of its denial by some. (To be continued).
SEEKING KNOWLEDGE OF RESURRECTION POWER
William Andrew Dillard
There is an attainment alien to planet Earth. It outranks all other possible possessions in worthiness of pursuit. Among men, gold, silver, diamonds, and pearls are universally accepted as wealth, and the years of life are given to acquire them, and what they represent. But there is another that pales the treasures of earth. Think with me for a minute.
Prerequisites are essential to the ability to pursue the treasure of which I write. Being born from above, and committed to obediently following God in New Covenant relationship are those prerequisites that open the door to that opportunity. Think of it in the context of the apostle Paul.
God used Paul as He did no other. Paul also had things men seek in life: the best education, friends in high places, and rank in his Pharisaical world, to name a few. Yet, in Philippians Chapter Three, he listed some of those, but went on to say they were all counted but loss, even as a pile of dung in comparison to the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. He wanted above all other things to know Him better, and especially the power of His resurrection.
At this Easter season, the world called “Christendom” celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. but few understand its possibility. Jesus was a man, but He was also the Creator God of the universe. Since the wages of sin is death, it was possible for the man Jesus, Who knew no sin, to die only because he voluntarily took upon Himself the sins of men. But the man, Jesus was formed of flesh and blood of this world. However, the life in the man Jesus was the eternal God Himself. It is not possible for Him to die. But it was possible for the God Who lived in the man Jesus to re-enter the human body of Jesus, changing it into a glorified state. That has specific and profound meaning to His people.
The Spirit of the Living God which dwells in His people is life, and it is not possible for it to die. To this point Jesus forthrightly declared: “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” John 11:26. The everlasting life Jesus gives to those who repent of sins and accepts Him as their personal Savior begins at the moment that happens. It never ends and cannot end because it is everlasting. What that means is that though death claims the flesh on earth, the life-force or spirit returns to God Who gave it to await the command of the Master to reunite in a glorified body like unto His own. The interim is not inactive, but chock full of glorious awareness that pales that of earth. Hallelujah! We join Paul in pursuit of a better knowledge of that, his prime directive. He lives! We live!
This is a day of apostacy that is as great as what Spurgeon faced. Those that will stand will face anger, arrogance, and ridicule for standing faithfully for the express truths of the Word of God.
Controversy isolated Spurgeon
October 28, 1887 – Charles Haddon Spurgeon withdrew from the Baptist Union. During the height of the dispute before he withdrew he wrote the following that gives insight as to the condition of the Union at the time. “No lover of the Gospel can conceal from himself the fact that the days are evil. A new religion has been initiated, which is no more Christianity than chalk is cheese, and this religion, being destitute of moral honesty, palms itself off as the old faith with slight improvements, and on this plea usurps pulpits which were erected for Gospel preaching. The Atonement is scouted, the inspiration of the Scripture is derided, the Holy Spirit is degraded into an influence, the punishment of sin is turned into fiction, and the Resurrection into a myth, and yet these enemies of our faith expect us to call them brethren, and maintain a confederacy with them!” At the back of doctrinal falsehood comes a natural decline of spiritual life, evidenced by a taste for questionable amusements, and a weariness of devotional meetings. Spurgeon’s early complaints centered upon three problems; the decline of prayer meetings among the Baptist churches, the worldliness of ministers relating to entertainment, and doctrinal problems which stemmed from the inroads of the “higher criticism” of that day. This controversy isolated Spurgeon from many who refused to stand with him for the defense of biblical truth. Many believe that the grief and conflict of this battle hastened his death after a period of illness at Mentone in Southern France. He died on Jan. 31, 1892 at 57 years of age. In our day when apostasy abounds, God grant us men of God like him.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 447-48.
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“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” John 11:25, 26.
There are a lot of things in this world that can make us feel unsure. The feeling of true assurance is something that avoids us all too much. When we are able to fix our hearts on things that we know are sure, it brings security to our lives.
Merriam-Webster defines assurance as “being certain in the mind” and “inspiring confidence.” Nothing can bring more certainty to the mind and inspire more confidence in the heart of a believer than God’s Word. In today’s Scripture, we see a promise that should ease the heart of every believer, a truth that should set our minds at peace. And what is that truth?
Death will never defeat the believer!
That is a powerful truth! Through Jesus Christ, we have total victory over death. Life, the assurance of the resurrection, is a sure reality that we can rest in.
Christ has the authority to make this promise. Why? Because He is life and He is the resurrection. As believers we are “in Christ” (1 Cor. 15:22). By being placed in Him, we are also placed in His resurrection and in His life. That means we have the assurance of these promises, and “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise” (2 Peter 3:9).
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you rest in the assurance of God’s promises?
“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you,” Romans 8:11.
The glorious reality of a believer is that after death, he will rise again. The believer’s resurrection is twofold; resurrection from sin to new life and resurrection from death.
The fact is that the Bible describes an unbeliever as being dead in trespasses and sins. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). When a person accepts the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ his sins are forgiven and the Holy Spirit moves in and gives life to the lifeless. “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Col. 2:13). After salvation a person is quickened by the Holy Spirit and comes to life as a new creature in Christ.
On the third day, God raised Jesus from the dead as predicted by the prophets and preached by Jesus. And one day, that beautiful day, when the trumpet shall sound then all the dead in Christ rise from their graves, no matter where they are and come forth. The grave could not hold Jesus and it shall not hold the children of God.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10).
“Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen,” Mark 16:14.
Recently, our home was hit with a stomach virus. It only took one member of our family to introduce the virus to the rest of us and then, over the course of a week, we each fell ill with the bug. That is the way germs work, especially in close-knit families. They find ways to travel from host to host until the whole family is infected. Unfortunately, some diseases can spread to infect entire communities if proper sanitation procedures are not followed.
After Jesus rose from the tomb on Sunday morning, His appearances were staggered so that by the end of the day, the majority of the disciples had not seen Him in person, though word of His resurrection spread quickly. In spite of His constant teaching about His resurrection, Jesus’ disciples could not bring themselves to believe what He said, and it was beginning to have an adverse affect on them. When Jesus did appear to them, He rebuked them for not having faith in Him and His word. I wonder how often God rebukes us because of our unbelief? How much do we suffer because we allow unbelief to infect our lives, contaminating the pure and simple life of faith? Please be aware. Unbelief is infectious. If we are not careful to live out the abundant life of faith in Jesus Christ, we will spread the germs of unbelief to our families, churches and communities.
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you live in faith today?
Joshua labored with Mr. Carey in translating the Scripture
December 04, 1837 – Joshua Marshman died, and was laid to rest in “God’s Acre.” That plot in India that is now consecrated by the mingled dust of generations of missionaries who await the resurrection. Marshman, born in a Baptist home in Wiltshire, England, on April 20, 1768 knew early the message of saving grace. When he was 24, he moved to Bristol to supervise a school of the Broadmead Baptist Church. While there he also took classes at the Seminary, and for five years studied Hebrew and Syriac. Carey had gone to India in 1793, and the missionary reports had stirred the hearts of the Marshmans for the cause of missions. The Marshmans applied to the mission, were accepted, and sailed in May, arriving in Calcutta in Oct. of 1799. They opened a young ladies’ boarding school which became the largest of its kind in India. This supplemented their support, and all the profits went to the Serampore Mission. They also established two more such schools which work was carried on by Hannah Marshman. She continued on until her death in 1847. Joshua had not been robust in his youth, and at the time of his leaving had been in poor health but the Lord undertook for His servant and he said that he had not paid out a single sovereign on medicine in 36 years. Joshua labored with Mr. Carey in translating the Scripture, preaching and other missions work. He mastered Chinese and translated the Scriptures into a Chines Bible. He printed the works of Confucius and used the profits to place God’s Word in the hands of the disciples of Confucius. On one occasion he was mobbed and on another he was arrested. The Carey’s and Marshman’s used £80,000 of their own money to save the property when the young men took over the mission after the old men died off.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 505-07.